Staff Picks – Week of 29/05/2019

Batman: Last Knight On Earth #1
Scott Snyder (w), Greg Capullo (a)
DC Comics

Adam says: Fresh from DC Black Label, Batman: Last Knight on Earth sees Snyder & Capullo re-unite to tell one last Bat tale. Now, in truth, neither The New 52 run of Batman, nor Metal were entirely to my tastes – but the prospect of a contained, accessible three-issue series was too much to resist.

Quite deliberately, I feel, Last Knight is reminiscent of the prestige-format shorter works of DC Comics’ past – the Elseworlds line, as well as Legends of the Dark Knight. Not only do these kinds of projects allow for more singular, accessible stories, they also really give creators the opportunity to run a little wilder with significantly less emphasis on the question of canon/continuity.

Importantly though, Last Knight isn’t trading on nostalgia. Nor is it dependent on having read Snyder & Capullo’s previous works. Craft-wise, this translates to a few moments of more obvious world-building exposition, but it’s a price worth paying for a #1 that near enough anybody can read and enjoy. And much more besides, the pacing, chapter breaks and creative harmony in this first issue make for an exceptionally-satisfying single issue.

Three issues, big ideas, promising character studies: good Batman

As a petit bonus, Last Knight, particularly one of its key relationship dynamics, almost definitely seems to be drawing on the bizarre, wacky and fully brilliant indie parody Twilight of the Bat by Josh Simmons & Patrick Keck. Check it out if you can!

O Josephine!
Jason
Fantagraphics

Mattia says: Norwegian artist Jason is back with four new graphic short stories published by Fantagraphics Books. O Josephine! takes us through the landscapes of the Wicklow Way, in the Irish Countryside, Jason loves to walk as we saw with his previous book On the Camino.

After that we encounter Leonard Cohen and his life, let’s say a little fictional the author took a few liberties narrating the story of the great artist. A Detective stories follows up where two detectives get quickly caught in the personal drama of a weird couple. Concluding the book we have Bo and Jo, Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine Baker in their surrealistic love story.

If you have never read anything about Jason it can be sure a good start but please check his previous works you won’t regret it, on the other hand if you already knew him will be sure a confirmations of his characteristic minimalist style and blank humour.

Superman: Leviathan Rising (Jimmy Olsen story)
Matt Fraction (w), Steve Lieber (a)
DC Comics

Joe says: Featured in this weeks Superman: Leviathan Rising Special is a preview short story of Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber’s Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen series and where I was looking forward to it before, now I can’t wait! Just as bonkers as one would hope, Fraction’s script is very funny and Lieber brings it all to life with great comedic timing.

Heroes in Crisis #9
Tom King (w), Clay Mann (a)
DC Comics

Chief says: So we’ve reached the end of Tom King and Clay Mann’s (somewhat morbid) maxi-series. Taking the ‘Crisis’ suffix and playing with that concept, so that it’s not the physical world of Super-Heroes and by extension our world, but their emotional inner lives that are under threat, King and Mann have created something fairly unique.

If you’re familiar with King’s writing, you’ll know it’s that inner-life and turmoil that fascinates him the most. He’s constantly searching for emotional triggers in caped crusaders. Often, as with his seminal Batman run, this is illustrated in action, but he’s shied away from that here. Sure things happen, but ultimately, King and Mann want to tell you why they happened not just how.

Now that the end is here, what shines through most is the compassion the creators have felt for these characters. They’re not just empty vessels for action and God-like war, but living breathing people, on a journey to unknown destinations. And it’s good thing we’ve got creators like this to reinforce the idea that it’s the journey that matters most.